In the span of about 10 minutes, the Wyndham Championship went from an almost certain playoff, with a good chance for four players involved, to Camilo Villegas emerging the winner in regulation as the players behind him crumbled.
Villegas shot a final-round 63 to get in the clubhouse at 17-under, a number that both Heath Slocum and Freddie Jacobson matched on the back nine. But with Villegas safely in, Slocum and Jacobson couldn't stay on the pace with two stunning three-putt bogeys on the 18th. The final hole at Sedgefield Country Club is a long, difficult par-4, but after firing a hybrid to the front of the green, Jacobson seemed in good position to get up-and-down to make par and force a playoff. Instead, he absolutely hammered a lag putt past the hole, hoping to catch some of the slope back down. The ball settled 10 feet behind the hole, and he couldn't convert the par.
Slocum's three-putt from the front-middle of the green was much more costly, as it bumped him out of the FedExCup and lost him an automatic full Tour card for next year. It was in 2009 that Slocum just snuck into the top 125 in the FedExCup standings at the last minute. He then won the opening postseason event the next week at the Barclays, edging Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, among others, with a 21-foot putt at the last. That victory and hot streak doubled his prior career earnings in the span of just a couple of weeks. So he's someone who has found success during this stretch of the season, but this last-minute collapse was especially cruel.
Slocum putt never has a chance. Ends bogey-bogey to miss Tour card. Brutal.— Will Gray (@WillGrayGC) August 17, 2014
Nick Watney, who held the 54-hole lead, should have had several birdie chances on the gettable back nine at Sedgefield and he needed a red number at some point over his final four holes. Instead, he bombed one out of bounds on the 18th to take all the drama out of it and crown Villegas before the final pairing ever got to the 18th green.
It's been almost two years since Watney, once one of the top American players in the world, won on the PGA Tour. Sunday's back nine was the perfect chance to end his streak, but an inward 2-over 37 wasn't going to get it done and dropped him into a tie for fifth place. Fortunately, he was already safely into next week's FedExCup.
Villegas jumps 68 spots in the FedExCup standings with his win and should be safe for at least the first three legs of the postseason. It's been a difficult winless drought for the Colombian, who was one of the game's marketable young stars five years ago. The Wyndham isn't exactly a heavyweight event, drawing a tough spot on the schedule between the season's final major and the start of the four-week FedExCup. But Villegas has been fighting to stay on Tour, so a win at any tournament is huge at this point in his career. The relief was evident in a post-round interview off the 18th green.
Villegas on first win in 4 years: "I love the game. But it starts getting on you. I feel a lot lighter now." pic.twitter.com/nV0EPMLe5i— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 17, 2014
This is now his 10th professional win and his fourth on the PGA Tour. He already has two FedExCup victories, so maybe he goes on a run over the next month. Regardless of what comes next, it's good to see one of the game's international stars finally get back in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.
Here are the final results of the 75th edition of this historic stop in Greensboro:
|Place||Player||Score||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Total|
|T14||Bo Van Pelt||-11||67||65||68||69||269|
|T38||Doug LaBelle II||-7||72||65||66||70||273|
|T74||Tyrone van Aswegen||1||72||66||72||71||281|